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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For January 27, 2016

Jan 20

To Elliot Clark and his blogpost suggesting that Christians should read the Quran for themselves. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

This is an excellent post. I say this because I was taught in seminary that when reading the Bible, one should read the original documents as much as possible. And when we had to deal with various theologians, we read the theologians themselves rather than what others said about them.

The same principle applies here. If we want to know more about what Muslims believe, reading their critics will not help. Reading what they believe will help us better understand their religion as well as enable us to correct those who are make incorrect statements about Islam.


To Denny Burk and his blogpost review of the movie 13 Hours. This appeared in Denny Burk’s blog.

But the problem with the movie is the scope of the story. The terrorism starts with the attack on the US embassy. And that seems to fit the pro-American narrative on terrorism in general. Terrorism always starts with what they did to us despite our long-standing history of interventions and support for tyrannical rulers in the region. 


To Devin Foley and his blogpost reducing the sins of our fathers to the current federal debt. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

This article epitomizes what bothers me about conservatives. When it comes to explaining the sins of the our fathers, the only concern is debt. Such disregards our history of racism as seen in the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans from the land, slavery, and  both Jim Crows. It also disregards our history of hegemony as seen in our invasions, interventions, and our support for both tyrants and terrorists. With all of that history and the current situation, the sins of our fathers, according to this article, have only to do with debt. Here, a reminder of one of my favorite Martin Luther King Jr. quotes is in order:

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

Jan 25

To Denny Burk and his blogpost on how future generations will judge our generation for its acceptance of abortion. This appeared in Denny Burk’s blog.

I agree with this article except I would add that abortion is not the only pro-life issue for which we will be judged. Abortion is not this country's only social justice problem where life is devalued and threatened by the status quo. Wealth disparity certainly devalues and threatens the lives of both the unborn and born. So do interventionist foreign policies. And how can we defend our way of life when threatens the quality and actual lives of future generations?

There is more than one issue for which our generation will be judged.


Jan 26

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on the planned parenthood videos and the legal process that followed. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

We should note that the videos that some of us might have seen were edited. The unedited videos were reviewed and checked by factcheck.org. Their findings can be found by accessing the link below: Just as a spoiler alert, according to the videos, it doesn't appear that the law cited above was broken. That doesn't mean that there is no reason for portesting Planned Parenthood; after all, they do provide services for those desiring elective abortions. The issue here is the content of the videos.



To Mike Edmondson and his blogpost giving reasons why politicians should note be allowed to speak from the pulpit on Sunday morning. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

Seeing that the caveat is the pulpit on Sunday mornings, most of the points made above are good. However, the last point can be taken as reason not to mention the outside world including politics and justice issues--we should note that politics often involves issues of justice. When political and justice issues are banned from being mentioned in the pulpit so that the sheep may be fed, it promotes a certain insularity among the sheep that can border on an Anabaptist mentality. It can also lead us into becoming more preoccupied with ourselves than we already are. Such is not a Reformed approach. Nor is it consistent with the behavior of God's people especially the prophets from the Old Testament. But most important, such an insularity and resulting self-preoccupation prevents us from loving our neighbor as we should.

If we combine the lessons from the parable ofthe two men praying with the idea of being a curmudgeon, perhaps we can arrive at that meets the concerns expressed above. That one of the roles of any miniter's sermon is to address political issues when injustice is being visited on others. Here, the minister should only address how people are being exploited; solutions should not be offered. In addition, the injustices promoted by all political parties should be mentioned so that there is neither support nor implied endorsement of any political party--this addressing the injustices promoted by all political parties falls in line with the lessons taught from the parable of the two men praying.

Since politics involves issues of justice and God loves justice, we can't avoid mentioning political issues from the pulpit, nor should we. But we should be careful to mention and describe these issues so that justtice,, rather than an ideology or political party, is being promoted.


To Joe Carter and his blogpost on how the minimum wage is cruel. This appeared in the Acton blog.

If businesses work on such the idealistic approach as described in this video, how come we have the working poor some of whom are homeless? And why do we have certain businesses that use gov't assistance programs to subsidize their payrolls? 

In addition, there are mixed results to the raising of the minimum wage and thus we need more time to study the impact of raising minimum wages in our current economic system. Whereas there was an increase in resttaurant work unemployment in Seattle during the first few months of having a higher minimum wage, that trend has reversed (see http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/08/25/latest-seattle-jobs-numbers-disprove-foxs-minim/205155 ) and overall unemployment in Seattle has dropped (see http://www.seattletimes.com/business/local-business/state-jobless-rate-stays-steady-at-53-percent-in-august/   ). Whle a Forbes article sttes that a comparison between Seattle restaurant employment compared with the restaurant employment for the rest of Washington slightly favors the side that opposes raising the minimum wage and that there are 700 fewer restaurant jobs in the Seattle area since the beginning of the increase in the minimum wage (see http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2015/10/23/checking-seattles-15-minimum-wage-look-theres-the-job-losses/#bc41da25da40 ). But here we should note that these statistics could be used to support an argument for making the minimum wage standard across a whole state as well as an argument against Seattle's new minimum wage. 

But note that with the Forbes comparison comes our mystery in the minimum wage debate: why aren't we  questioning the economic system that gives us an exclusive-or choice between having a job and being paid a livable wage?

In the meantime, the title of this article is rather ambiguous. Is the cruelty of the minimum wage an indication that it is too low? Or is the cruelty noted by Carter found in the mere existence of the minimum wage? Or is the cruelty in the current attempt to raise the wage? Or finally is the cruelty of the minimum wage a parroting of what Chris Rock said about being paid minimum wage:

You know what that means when someone pays you minimum wage? You know what your boss was trying to say? "Hey if I could pay you less, I would, but it's against the law.”

Unfortunately, we have some conservative Christians sources who are so unabashadly pro-business in their ideology that they are blind to the human impact of their ideology has.

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